Dizzying, Mesmerizing Artistic Expression from Trudy Benson

Trudy Benson: Actual/Virtual
Through November 12, 2011

As noted in the press release, when viewing the new paintings of Trudy Benson, one is easily reminded of the work of the Abstract Illusionists from the mid-1970s. The problem with that reference is it was never a particularly effective or compelling "art movement," if you could call Abstract Illusionism an art movement. The good thing is that Ms. Benson achieves much more success than her predecessors by adding variety and, to put it simply, chutzpah, as she employs bold paint applications in wild compositions.

At the heart of this work are her lack of inhibitions, her visible strength and endurance, and her ability to resist any basis of a narrative in favor of a push to a sort of spasmodically over-stimulated core of expression that fluctuates between dizzying and mesmerizing. One even imagines there are fleeting moments of meditation in the paint application process when the artist makes such repetitive actions in the variously colored rainbow-like elements.

I am particularly impressed by the lack of concern the artist has for the staining and scuffing in areas where raw canvas appears. This indicates an unimpeded mindset whereby the continuous outpouring of creative energy trumps any preconceived notions or thoughts of an ultimate painting surface. But there is a hint of conflict there, because in one way, it’s all about the surface, the creamy, drippy, hard-edgy, dabbled, spattered, sprayed, and combed cacophony of color that inhabits Ms. Benson’s studio.

On the other hand, Ms. Benson does suggest depth, weight, and movement, or animation, as subjects in her paintings. And it is that compelling, implied animation that keeps you looking. - D. Dominick Lombardi

Image shown: "Censor" (2011)

Mr. Lombardi is an artist with representation at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York, a writer with Public Art and Ecology (Shanghai), Sculpture, and d'ART, and an independent curator.

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